As it turns out, Falcons (for now) running back Jason Snelling isn’t the only player who is speaking out about a desire to get a labor deal done.
Eagles (for now) kicker David Akers wants to get something done, too. And Akers has called NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith to make sure Smith knows it.
“I called De Smith myself and just said, ‘You know what, what’s going on here? Where are we really and where are the owners at and what are we doing actively to get this thing done?’” Akers told Derrick Gunn of CSNPhilly.com on Wednesday. “You know, myself, I’m not the biggest guy as far as dealing with lawyers and all that stuff and getting the courts, I just think we need to find what’s good for the game and get a deal done. Ultimately, I mean people want to have their football. A lot of people are starting to get hurt — people are losing jobs right now. It’s time to get it all figured out in my opinion, but nobody asks my opinion.”
But even though Akers thinks no one is asking for his opinion, it’s his opinion that things could get done fairly soon.
“To me, I don’t think we’re off that much ultimately, in that I think cooler heads need to prevail and sit down and kind of get out of the core system right now and just figure out the best scenario for the owners, the players and obviously the fans who support the entire league,” Akers said. “So it’s discouraging right now to kind of be in this limbo not really knowing when the season’s going to start, if it’s going to start, you know, and everything that kind of goes along with it. So I would just hope that cooler heads ultimately prevail right now.”
With Snelling and Akers going on the record and making their views known, it’ll be interesting to see what the NFLPA* does about it. Smith ultimately answers to the NFLPA* Executive Committee, and only so many trial-lawyer talking tactics can permit him to continue to avoid the fundamental question the players now face.
Is the goal to get a deal done and play football in 2011, or is the objective to first obtain a significant amount of leverage through litigation, which could mean missing all of the 2011 season?
Though some may think that getting a deal done sooner rather than later constitutes capitulation to the owners, we don’t see it that way. The players have leverage via the legal claims they’ve made, and they can use their leverage to get the best possible deal. Though they could have even more leverage based on some of the other rulings that could be issued down the road, the cost to get to that point could be more than any player wants to pay.